One day after a trying day at work, I contemplated my role in recruiting, my accomplishments and my coworkers, and I asked myself…why are we all wired so differently? What is the common thread that we share? After all, we come from an environment of superstars! I know it’s not drive or lack of it that separates us, because all of the recruiters that I know and have come to admire are extremely driven. It’s not an absence of passion or conviction, and certainly not a lack of experience, as I work with some of the most experienced recruiters in our industry. So what is it?
I have come to the conclusion that it’s a simple yet extremely powerful word called “fear”. I am not speaking about the fear of a monster hiding beneath your bed, or the fear of facing your school principal for skipping your senior class and enjoying a day at Walt Disney World. I am talking about the fear that challenges us to be our best – the fear that separates us from the ordinary.
Many times, fear is a single moment. Imagine a 19-year-old from a small town in Florida on a bus in Anniston, Alabama, heading down a hill and stopping in front of military barracks with nine drill sergeants eagerly anticipating her foot hitting the pavement upon exiting the bus. Basic training had begun. The screams of the drill sergeants could be heard long before arriving at what the new recruits would call home for the next nine weeks. As I adapted to my new life in the military, the fear of the unknown was almost unbearable – but as I look back, I would not change it. What started out as fear turned into determination and perseverance!
Erica Jong once said:
I have accepted fear as a part of life – specifically fear of change. I have gone ahead despite the pounding in the heart that says ‘turn back.’
The key to success is to not allow fear to share the same cul-de-sac with anxiety and regret. When you fear something and you allow that fear to dominate your mind, you allow it to prevent you from achieving what you know is possible, which then ultimately turns into regret. Have you ever noticed that when you push through your fear, the result is satisfaction and comfort in your achievement, and a measure of confidence that will allow you to shine the next time you are faced with a similar challenge? Don’t fear fear – instead, allow it to motivate you to help you achieve greatness!
Fear isn’t an excuse to come to a standstill. It’s the impetus to step up and strike.
When I was promoted to manager at my current company, the last thing I expected was to be asked to stand and make a presentation before my peers. At that moment, fear quickly set in. Could I captivate the audience? Would I stumble over my words? Would I go silent? The first statement I made was that I did not like to speak in front of others and that it made me nervous. In doing this, I instantly gave my fear life by acknowledging and introducing it. When I began to speak, my voice shook, my knees knocked and I wanted to throw up. I began to sweat – it was so uncomfortable. What just happened?
As surprising as it was to others, I was the most shocked. I felt so defeated. I knew that if I ever wanted people to pay attention to me and what I had to say, I needed to allow that moment to motivate me – allow it to help me achieve more. I began by asking to take on more responsibility that required me to speak in front of others. I started with smaller groups, then gradually worked up to larger ones. I noticed that as long as I was comfortable with the material I was speaking about and knew what I wanted to say, fear no longer had a place in the presentation.
So how can I continue to use fear as a motivator instead of a deterrent?
- I will not fear when a candidate doesn’t appear after the first, second or third search. This just means I may need to redefine my search.
- I will not fear when a client doesn’t respond. Maybe I can give him or her new incentive to do so.
- I will not fear that I am not good enough to sit in my chair. I’ve earned the right to be here – sometimes I just need to remind myself of that.
- I will not fear my monthly goal. Instead, I will try to meet it, or better yet, exceed it.
- I will not fear that I am not seen as an expert in my craft. Maybe this is just the opportunity I need to show others my passion for what I do.
- I will not fear when I do not know a particular role. Instead, I will use this as an opportunity to expand my knowledge in a new area.
The next time you’re asked to stand in front of anyone and be accountable for anything, look them in the eyes and thank them for their attention, as they have given you the opportunity to set fear aside and sing.